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Early Western Civilization The Return to Mecca Muhammad and the Beginnings of Islam Muhammad whose full name was Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn Abd Allah ibnAbd al-Muttalib ibn Hashim was born in Mecca around 570 AD after thedeath of his father Abd Allah Muhammad was at first under the careof his paternal grandfather Abd al-Muttalib Because the climate ofMecca was considered to be unhealthful he was given as an infant to awet nurse from a nomadic tribe and spent some time in the desert Atsix he lost his mother Aminah of the clan of Zuhra and at eight hisgrandfather Though his grandfather had been head of the prestigiousHashem clan and was prominent in Mecca politics he was probably not theleading man in Mecca as some sources suggest Muhammad came under thecare of the new head of the clan his uncle Abu Talib and is reputed tohave accompanied him on trading journeys to Syria About 595 on such ajourney he was in charge of the merchandise of a rich woman Khadijahof the clan of Asad and so impressed her that she offered marriageShe is said to have been about 40 but she bore Muhammad at least twosons who died young and four daughters The best known daughter wasFatimah the wife of Muhammads cousin Ali who is regarded asMuhammads divinely ordained successor by the Shiah branch of IslamUntil Khadijahs death in 619 Muhammad took no other wife Themarriage was a turning point in Muhammads life By Arab custom minorsdid not inherit and therefore Muhammad had no share in the property ofhis father or grandfather However by his marriage he obtainedsufficient capital to engage in mercantile activity on a scalecommensurate with his abilitiesMuhammad appears to have been of a reflective turn of mind and is saidto have adopted the habit of occasionally spending nights in a hill cavenear Mecca The poverty and misfortunes of his early life doubtlessmade him aware of tensions in Meccan society Mecca
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